Letters of Life


Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to breakfast, the kind one is usually served at resorts on tropical islands or similar.

I went to a popular sandwich cafe and sat down. About 20 inches on the left, two women sat facing each other at the next table, chatting. I glanced at their table for ideas on what to order. Equidistant from the women sat just one plate, on which a bit of bacon and half a tomato peeked out from half a focaccia sandwich. The remains of a rocket salad lay strewn on one side of the plate. The food looked like a truce, or maybe a compromise of sorts.

I gave the waiter my order and leaned back on the banquette.

So close were the tables that I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. “The coach told my son….” and “…give them hardboiled eggs, but not everyday…” and I gathered they had children who were on rigorous training squads. The conversation never veered off topic.

My order arrived. Almost with a flourish, the waiter, an enthusiastic young Indian gentleman, plonked down my dish. A sunny mound of scrambled eggs sat cosily next to two plump and freckled grey sausages, rashers of bacon fried to a crisp balanced on top of black sautéed mushrooms, and two thick slices of toast (cunningly described as brioche on the menu) threatened to fall off the crowded plate, which came with a pat of sealed butter and another of strawberry jam. The ubiquitous rocket salad filled up the rest of the plate.

At the arrival of my order, the conversation on my left paused and the silence, coming right after constant chatter, was quite sustained. Even as my hungry eyes feasted on the food, I could feel two other pairs of eyes fixed on this recent arrival at my table.

I reminded myself I had had a grueling run over the weekend, had been hungry ever since, and was thus, entitled. I also happened to be wearing my skinny jeans at the time, a stroke of wardrobe genius, for from a woman’s point of view, this was obviously my ticket to pigging out.

I picked up my fork and knife. The chatter on my left resumed as I slowly but steadily began to put the breakfast away.


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